The planned East Midlands Hub station should open well in advance of the arrival of HS2 in 2033 to help stimulate the local economy. This is among a list of priorities agreed last week by the DfT and Midlands Connect and East Midlands Councils.
They have stated a commitment to open the station at Toton in the 2020s, at least for Network Rail services, to support the planned Innovation Campus nearby, which has the potential to create 10,000 new jobs.
In a meeting between transport secretary Chris Grayling and members of Midlands Connect and East Midlands Councils, it was agreed that the Network Rail/DB Cargo depot in Toton would be re-located to another site in the East Midlands to make space the Innovation Campus.
Also, an East Midlands ‘delivery body’ would be set up to develop olans for the Innovation Campus and associated Garden Village housing developments.
Alongside these priorities, Midlands Connect and East Midlands Councils are pressing the DfT to ensure a link between the Midland Main Line and HS2 Phase 2b is operational for the start of HS2. This, they say, would ensure classic compatible trains can serve the north of England from the East Midlands. This would benefit Leicester in particular, which is currently poorly served by direct services to the north, say Midlands Connect and East Midlands Councils.
In the wake of Chris Grayling’s decision last year not to electrify the line between Kettering and Sheffield, Midlands Connect and East Midlands Councils has agreed to work with the DfT to improve services on the Midland Main Line.
Midlands Connect Chairman Sir John Peace said: “We have said for a long time that more investment in transport and infrastructure in the East Midlands can have a transformative impact on its economy and the quality of life of the millions of people who live here. I’m therefore pleased that the government is already in dialogue with the Midlands Connect team and East Midlands Councils to accelerate connectivity around the HS2 Hub station at Toton. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the region and I am looking forward to further meetings early in 2018 to keep up the momentum.”
Chris Grayling said: “I welcome the ambitious growth strategy put forward by the East Midlands leaders to maximise the benefits of HS2 through the development of an Innovation Campus, garden settlements and better connections at Toton. We have also invested £25m to help Midlands Connect develop a transformational transport strategy, and will work with them on their proposals.”
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